The finances of a child or children are the responsibility of the parents, and no matter the kind of relationship between the two parents, they both need to agree on child support payments whether they like it or not.
Filing for child support has made determining and receiving it easier. Child support is a legal way to make sure that both parents pay an equal amount of money for their child or children. In this article, we’ll talk about all the steps you have to take to get child support, so you can understand the process better.
The Process of Filing for Child Support in Reading, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania State Guidelines (read more: Rule 1910.16-1) are used to decide child support in Reading, PA. The process is fair, but it’s still important to know all the steps involved in this process.
We have outlined below the steps involved in filing for child support:
Opening A Child Support Case
This is the first step to take when filing for child support. Opening a case can be done by either the parents or the child/children’s legal guardian. The fact that the court already ordered child support doesn’t mean a child support case has been opened; you still need to open one even after a judge’s order. You can do this by filling out an online application at the Pennsylvania Child Support Website.
If you do this online, the electronic petition is forwarded to Centre County DRS so you can file the completed papers with the court. Schedule an appointment with the intake officer for any assistance you need.
Before you can open a child support case, you need to provide the following information about yourself and the other parent.
- Names of both parties.
- Phone numbers of both parties.
- Addresses of both parties.
- Social Security Numbers.
- Date of Birthday.
- Children Paternity Information.
- Health insurance Information.
- Date of marriage and separation.
- Alternative contact information.
- Employment History.
After opening your case, the files are forwarded to a conference officer, and an initial conference date is scheduled.
The Child Support Conference
The child support conference will be held at the county domestic relations office in front of the conference office on the scheduled date. At the conference, both people involved in the child support case must be there with their own lawyers. The child support conference attendance is limited to the parties, except in extraordinary circumstances.
The room for the support conference is usually small, and the conference officer calmly observes both parties to determine credibility; thus, keeping calm and composed as you behave during the conference is essential.
After evidence is shown, an “Order of Support” is made based on the recommendation of the conference officer or if both parties agree. The income information of both parties is considered before the Support Order is entered, and the amount of child support in Pennsylvania is based on the Pennsylvania State Guidelines, which factor in both parties’ income and expenses.
If the child or children were born outside of a marriage, the question of paternity is also talked about at the conference. You can bring the child to the conference for tests to be conducted if you think paternity issues may arise on that day.
Even if the respondent is found to be the parent, he or she can still deny it at the conference and ask for a genetic test. A trained DRS employee performs the genetic test. If the results show that the respondent is not the father of the child, the case will be dismissed with prejudice.
If not, another conference will be rescheduled to resolve the issue, and a “Support Order” will be presented.
Child Support Enforcement
This only happens when the respondent refuses to pay child support in full and on time. The child support program works with both parents to make sure that child support is always paid on time and in the right amount. An enforcement action is taken if the respondent refuses to pay child support.
Each child support case has its own enforcement officer. You can work with your enforcement officer to resolve all your child support issues. Write down your complaints and send them to the central county. In addition, various actions can be taken to enforce child support.
These actions can affect the parent’s finances, public records, and mobility.
Petitions to Modify the Support Order
With this petition, you are officially asking for a review of the current order of support to decide whether the amount of child support should go up or down. The parent who desires this change must provide proof that their situation has changed significantly. This form can’t be filled out without a solid reason.
It could be because of a big change in your net income or because your spouse’s support stopped because your divorce was finalized. It could also be for any other good reason.
Having Child Support Issues? Let Our Certified & Experienced Child Support Lawyers Handle It!
You only want the best for your child. Additionally, you desire a supportive judgment that safeguards your financial stability. Under Pennsylvania’s child support laws, the right child support lawyer can help you get a child support order that is good for you and your children, even if you are getting a divorce, separating, or there is a question about who the father/mother is.
Bentley, Kopecki, Smith, P.C., has a team of experienced family lawyers offering premium child support services, including expert advice and guidance on your legal rights and responsibilities. We have 4 decades of experience helping parents and legal guardians get child support payments, which is why you should also trust us with your case.
We help people with child support cases and give ongoing legal advice on a number of important issues. When we deal with initial support issues, we will help you figure out how they might affect other parts of your divorce, like child custody and alimony.
If your present arrangement isn’t working for you, our attorneys can assist you with motions for contempt and a child support modification, as per Pennsylvania’s child support guidelines. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.